Cedar Rapids, IA Real Estate News

By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Seller Tip #6:  Have You Seen the Photos of Your Home....Recently?   When your home enters the market, whether it was six months ago or three months ago, the time that your home was originally photographed showed a "different picture".  Let me explain....there may have been snow on the ground and likely the grass could have been brown and the trees were bare.  You were still living there and there was furniture and pictures on the wall.   Fast forward a couple of months and not only has the exterior of your home changed, but maybe the inside has too.  Maybe you moved out a month ago and no one is there to add the usual colorful flowers to those pots by the front door.  Or there is no one to powerwash the house the way that you typically did every spring.  Maybe once you moved your furni...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
We Might Want to Try Selling It Ourselves For a Month This happens a lot this time of the year.  Especially with the current market in the Cedar Rapids area where the number of active listings is down 25% from this same time in 2013.  It is a seller's market in most price ranges with very little inventory.   It is my own fault on this one.  When we were out looking at homes to buy, these future sellers were asking the right questions.  How is the market?  Do you think that we should list our house first?  Or should we buy a house and move first and wait to sell?   And I, well, I told the truth.  Because they didn't need to sell in order to buy.  And because they were looking for a specific type of replacement property, it was a real concern that listing right now could very well render ...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Seller Tip #5: Are Closing and Possession Always on the Same Day? It is the age old question that home buyers and sellers deal with every day.  Do you sell your home first or do you buy a new one first? Most homeowners are not fortunate enough to be in the position to choose.  Most buyers need to sell and receive the proceeds from their current home in order to purchase the new one.  It is easiest and less stressful for a seller to know that their home is sold before offering on a new home.  That way, they can line up the closing dates to be the same.  Seems simple enough right?  Not really.  Homeowners do not think about where all their stuff is going to go in between.  They have help on the weekend to move their things.  They are closing on a Friday so unpacking is all set.  It is the...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
"I Only Work Evenings and Weekends By Appointment."  Are You Sure? Let me explain...I recently went on a listing consultation for a potential listing in a very desirable area.  They greeted me at the door and wasted no time asking me their most important question. "Do you work evenings and weekends?" It seemed like a reasonable question.  After all, much of my job happens when other people are NOT working, because well, that is when they are available.   I replied that I often do work evenings and weekends when buyers are looking for a home or a listing receives an offer or showing calls. I could see the feeling of relief pass over them.  You see, they had met with three other top agents in the Cedar Rapids area.  All of them stated: "I Only Work Evenings and Weekends By Appointment."  ...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Turns Out That Steep Driveway Wasn't THAT Important to the Buyer! When I had represented the seller on this home less than 4 years ago, the would be buyer lamented what it would take to "fix" the driveway. Going to the time and trouble to have estimates submitted to the then seller for the "repair" that was necessary to buy the house.  It was obviously very important to the buyer that this was addressed in order to move forward to purchase this particular home. In the end, through negotiation, my seller discounted the house for a good chunk of the estimate to "fix" the steep driveway to be done and move on.  The "fix": to lower the garage floor several feet to make the grade of the driveway less.  In return, there would now be the effect of having a "raised ranch" where there would be a...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Why an Accepted Contract is Just the Beginning After 10 years in this business, I think that it is about time that I educate my buyers and sellers a little bit on why I get paid a fee.   No, sellers.  It is not to put a sign in the yard ( I've got a guy for that!) and put it on the MLS. No, buyers.  It is not to have a key to open all the doors to every house that you would like to see. As a buyer or a seller, you breathe a sign of relief or do a little happy dance when there is an accepted offer with all the signatures.   For me, that is just the beginning.  Because the devil is in the details... You see, the biggest and most important part of my job is keeping all of the written dates and requirements in that contract moving along at their pace to get to the closing table.  That means...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
What a Difference a Few Words Can Make in a Contract When you are representing your buyer, your intent is seemingly clear.  The buyer is specific in asking the seller to have something specific done prior to closing.  In this case, the seller had some unfinished trim work and painting to do.  No big deal.  The listing agent had warned them before they viewed the home that there were a few details to be completed. So the buyers wrote in that they wanted the painting and trim to be completed by the seller prior to closing.  Seems straight forward enough right?   But be careful because you are treading in dangerous waters.  Words can be read differently than you intend. Fast forward to the closing week 45 days later and you have an unhappy buyer and an unhappy seller.  Once the furniture i...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
New Listing Sold So Quick, No Time to Put in the Sign! You would think that this would be a good problem for a listing agent to have, right? After all, it means that I must have done something right.  Or the seller did. The preparation of getting the house ready for listing, for professional photos, for showings....that is all done with suggestions from the listing agent.  But the execution clearly falls on the homeowner to make it happen. So when all of the things are done and checked off the list, it is time to enter the market.   I discuss at the point of listing that the sellers have done all of the work to make their home sell quickly, including setting the price at the current market value.  I never underestimate the power of the right price, the right location, and the right cond...
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By Gary & Melynda Wolter (CRS) 480-269-1164, Reliable, Premier Personal Service since 2001
(ProSmart Realty)
The Cedar Rapids Titans of the IFL have teamed up with the Wolter Team of Iowa Realty for ar promotion called "THE BIG MOVE!"  Every game Gary, Melynda and Duane will sign you up to exchange you not so great seat for the BIG MOVE to the front row! Two seats each and every game will be awarded plus a hand made custom made quilt will be yours as well courtesy of the talents of Lisa Johnson of Marion. At the end of the season one lucky person who entered the contest will win a $100 Hy Vee gas card from the Wolter Team Real Estate Group at Iowa Realty. The Wolter Team recently finished #1 in sales for 2013 at their office and are ready to help you with your BIG MOVE this year!
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By Gary & Melynda Wolter (CRS) 480-269-1164, Reliable, Premier Personal Service since 2001
(ProSmart Realty)
For the second straight year, the husband and wife team of Gary & Melynda Wolter finished first in sales volume at the Iowa Realty Marion office. This year they had an increase from $5 million to $8 million in residential sales. Last year they also won the award as the top selling agents. Company wide, the lifelong residents of Marion finished #9 out of almost 200 agents. "The market really seem to come alive in 2013. Over 70% of our business come from our clients and friends simply telling others that we get results." said Gary, now in his 13th year as a Realtor. Gary & Melynda Wolter rank #1 in marketing homes by the real estate website Point2 homes. They are also in the top 5 in Iowa when it comes to real estate blogging on ActiveRain, a popular sight for Realtor bloggers. "Where we ...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
"Love" In An Elevator....Sort Of One of my favorite transactions of 2013 began by a chance meeting in the elevator at my office.  I was running late for a meeting with a client and when I walked to wait for the elevator, I noticed a young woman and what appeared to be her mother, wandering on the floor.   As we were waiting, I inquired if they knew who they were looking for.  The young woman shyly said that she was looking to buy her first home and that they were looking for an agent to help them.  I led the way on the elevator and took them to the floor that I was going.  I figured that I would direct them to the agent on duty since I was on my way to an appointment. No such luck.  The agent on duty had left early and their replacement had still not arrived.  So I quickly called my app...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
What Does a Quit Claim Deed Really Do? In Iowa, a quit claim deed is usually part of a dissolution of marriage for the primary residence.  Usually, a refinance of the property is necessary in exchange for the other spouse to release their claim on the property.    However, what if you weren't married but you were on the mortgage?  If you qualified together to purchase the property, will one person be able to afford to refinance on their own?  The answer may be, not always. When you sign the quit claim deed and there is not a recorded  document requiring the person that is remaining in the home to refinance the mortgage, it can mean possible trouble down the road. Here is the example.  A potential buyer called me today.  He is looking to purchase a home in a few months.  In our conversat...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Taking Your Property Off the Market Sometimes, sellers find that their situation has changed.  Their motivation to sell is gone.  Whether it be because their dream home that they wanted to buy sold to another, or they no longer qualify for the program to build a home, there are some reasons that a seller may want to go off the market to regroup. A couple of things to be aware of when you leave the market.   1.  You will be bombarded by other agents that don't know your situation that will try to be your savior.  They will tell you all the things that your current agent did wrong that they will do right.  As though the only reason to take your property off the market is because you are mad at your listing agent. 2.  When you relist your home, whether you wait a few weeks or a few months,...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Sellers:  Your Procrastinating is Hurting the Buyers Too! I know that the process of selling your home is not easy.  Especially if you are going through a life change, like a divorce or a downsize due to illness.   But here is the thing, you told your listing agent that you wanted to sell right away.  You directed your listing agent to market your home as a quick possession.  You listed your home at just below the market value to entice buyers to see and offer on your home. And guess what?  It worked.  A buyer saw the value and the terms of your home and made an acceptable offer.  But you decided that quick possession was not an option and needed to counter for the buyers to wait 3 months to close on the house.   Why?  Because you didn't realize how much money you would need to close si...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Buyers:  I Will Be That Nagging Voice You Try to Ignore! Let me explain.  Many buyers choose a home based on emotion and justify their decision based on logic.  And many buyers have parents or friends that keep them honest about how they really feel about a home. It is my job to tear apart every home that you like.  Now, don't get me wrong, I want you to find the best home for you for the price and terms that work the best for you and your family.  But I am going to point out all of the negative things to you.  Any material defects, items that may be concerns in the property disclosure, neighborhood or property flaws, and pointing out how it doesn't work for you.  If after all of that, you still like the home....it might be the one for you. I am not emotionally attached to your purchase...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Facebook is NOT for Sellers, or Buyers for that Matter! Think about it....they say that there are six degrees of separation between strangers, meaning that everyone knows someone that you may know.  There are connections everywhere, making Facebook very dangerous if you are buying or selling a home.   I let my buyers and sellers know that they should keep their thoughts off Facebook during the process of buying or selling a home.  Because you never know who your friends might know.   Let me give you an example. A seller is desperate to sell.  The husband is already relocated and the wife is waiting for the house to sell.  And she is posting the results of every showing.  Letting her friends know about every open house and how anxious she is to join her husband.  Little does she know tha...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
I Changed My Mind, I Don't Want to Sell My House Anymore! This happens more than you might think.  Sometimes, it is a panic button. When a seller begins the process of preparing their home for the market, they are going through their belongings.  This is more difficult based on the amount of time they have spent in the home.  Determining what they will give away and what they will keep, can be a very emotional experience. For example, an older couple that is selling intends to downsize.  Their kids are pushing the issue a bit.  The house is too much for them to maintain.  It isn't practical with the laundry room in the basement and no bedroom or bathroom on the main level.  They know that it makes sense to move to a one level home.  But this isn't about logic.  They built a life in this...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
This week's installment from Nathan Seyfer is a common mistake that buyers make.  We don't think about all the things that we are doing that could be damaging our credit profile.  Yes, you may need a refrigerator or a washer and dryer, but it is best to wait until after the closing before you open up any new credit or take on any more debt.  Thank you to Nathan and UICCU for providing such invaluable information to Cedar Rapids home buyers.   Keep smiling! Karen __________________________________________________________   But I needed a fridge!   In those five words a client was justifying the big splurge they had made on a refrigerator and the credit card with no payments, no interest for 6 months that they had just opened. While a seemingly harmless purchase in preparation for their n...
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By Gary & Melynda Wolter (CRS) 480-269-1164, Reliable, Premier Personal Service since 2001
(ProSmart Realty)
$129,000  2641 Bever Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA Home offers great character and charm! Large master bedroom on 2nd level with new carpet. New roof, updates to the bathroom & kitchen, hardwoods throughout first level, fenced-in backyard, enclosed porch, formal dining room, newer kitchen appliances to stay. Across from Bever Park. New garage door on 2 car garage.    See more photos and other listings at www.WolterSOLD.com    
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Buyers:  It is Okay to be Afraid, Buying a Home is a BIG Decision Even though I have helped hundreds of buyers purchase a home, every buyer is different in the way that they approach the home buying process. There are buyers that sweat the small stuff.  They want to look over all the information.  Bring in extra sets of eyes.  Talk to the lender and run all the worse case and best case numbers.  Nothing wrong with that!  I am not the one paying the mortgage, you are!  Take your time to make sure that this home is comfortable for you in every aspect.  Knowing exactly what the payment will be, gives you the knowledge to know when to walk away and when to jump for joy in negotiations. There are buyers that look at a home for 20 minutes and don't need to look at it again.  They read the dis...
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